Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost in Translation

Here's an old favorite from an old hard-to-find blog of mine... I laughed so hard when I re-read it, I had to share it again to my new tens of readers. ;D

My Mom used to play the piano all the time when I was younger. I ~loved~ to watch her play! Her favorite music to play was Ragtime. She had a bunch of Scott Joplin sheet music and her two favorite pieces of his were "The Maple Leaf Rag" and "Solace"

Well, for some reason, that music popped into my head so I went to this website to dowload it (shhhh!)

Anyway... I only found one version of "Solace" (it has Itszak Perlman playing violin to the piano rag... not bad!) I see that the source also has some Flamenco Guitar as well so I start downloading that too when I suddenly get an IM from the source... it's in a different language. I recognize that it's a romance language and I'm pretty sure that it's Italian, but I have ~no~ idea what it says so I type back, "I'm sorry. I don't understand you." I get another reply of gibberish but the first word is "Scuza" (sp?)

Now, I know that... that's Italian so I write back Italiano? I get a "Si" so I decide (do not ask me why) to try to communicate with this person... Maybe it's because that's kinda' what I tend to do all the time... in work and in life... Anyway, I type something along the lines of "I'm American. I speak un poco espanol ... very poorly. See? I couldn't even remember the verb "to speak" ... I'm hopeless.

Then I remember... I have a friend at work who is teaching himself to speak Spanish. To me, this means that foreign language is fresher in his brain than it is in mine... So I print out the next reply I get which is, "io capisco poco spagnolo :-) sei molto brava" I call him up but there's no answer, so I run downstairs b/c I figure he's prolly outside smoking. I burst outside and shove this paper under his nose and ask him if he knows what this means... He doesn't know but he says he'll find out for me...

That's when I have my "light bulb moment." Duh... I'll go to one of those translation web sites and figure it out. So, by the time I get back upstairs and find a translation site, my friend gets back to me with this...

"io capisco poco spagnolo = I understand a little spanish.
sei molto brava = sei is six, molto brava is like 'very good' or something.

I get about the same thing at the same time... He tells me that it's even funnier when you generate an english interpretation from the translation of your original english message...

So, I start to try to converse with this person and every time I translate a sentence from English to Italian, I translate ~that~ translation back to English just to see if it's making sense... and that's where it started...

The following is the conversation I had... After it was over, I hit the back buttons on my browser and saved it b/c it was just too damn funny to me. The person's name was Maria... I think... What you will read is what the website translated from her, what I wrote back (in English) and What I "really" said according to the web site... hee hee!

MARIA: I understand little Spanish. six much good one (this is the point when I write uno momento) and run outside to talk to my buddy.

ME: Hello, I'm back. I found a translation web page.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: Hello, they are behind. I have found a Web page of translation.

MARIA: I would drive crazy to serve some to me in order to express to me... come calls to you?

(at this point, I email my friend this message... agreeing that these translation websites do suck... He replies, "Well, shit, I would drive crazy to serve some to me in order to express to me as well!! Woudn't you?") LOL!!!! That was priceless. :::giggling like crazy!!:::

ME: hmmm. Maybe this web page is no good. That made little sense.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: hmmm. Perhaps this Web page is good. That one has had small the meant one.

MARIA: six much good one. of I was sure... qual' is your name? I of it do not have one true. chimano me to second of humor.... nearly pits one music : -)
(WHAT?! By now I'm thinking of my Parasite Pals lunchbox with the "engrish" that says, "Tickles Tapeworm like much the good food. Great friends we are to the extremity. LOVE ME! TAPEWORM!")

ME: My name is Nancy. I could not understand what you said about music.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: My name is Nancy. I could not understand that what you have said approximately music.

MARIA: you have reason... mi I call Maria

(The next part actually works out perfectly... I say Hi back and ask her where she lives in Italy. She tells me she lives in Palermo which is in Sicily)

ME: Palermo must be lovely. I live in Florida.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: Palermo must be beautiful. Alive in Florida.

MARIA: it is beautiful Palermo, a lot sciupata in true... Florida will be charming I I believe

ME: It is nice. I moved here from New York one year ago.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: He is pleasant. A year is moved me here from new York makes.

(here's where I think we both realize that we are hardly communicating...)

MARIA: never they have not been in America physically, but ideally they have been end where son succeeded to embrace : -) not me muoverò more from Palermo quì morirò : -)
((WHAT?! I try to stay on whatever track I can..))

ME: My ancestors are from France and Italy. I would like to go there someday. :)
WHAT I REALLY SAY: My ancestors come from France and Italy. I would want to go some day here:) (not bad...)

(~here's~ where any semblance of understanding goes ~right~ out the window) :-D hee hee!!!

Maria: creed that all we have ancestors in common... non you will truly remain disappointed....

ME: That was a little hard to understand but I do have some family still in Italy... somewhere. I only met them once when I was very young.
WHAT I REALLY SAID: That one was little a hard one to understand but I have still sure family in Italy... in some place. I have come them to contact only once when I was much young person

MARIA: it does not count the time that passes I not vredo of having one family, but not ago nothing

LOL! So it's here that my boss comes into my office to introduce me to this girl who will be helping me with some research... He asks me what I'm doing and I sheepishly look at him and say, "Ummm... blasting the Sex Pistols on my iTunes?" By the time I'm done talking with her, my new friend Maria is gone... swirling back into the Palermo sunset... or the flipping of her lap top shut is ending and bring to it the exit of the cafe full of internet ... who knows? ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Everyone Needs Their Own Midget Story...

Luckily, I got mine!

DISCLAIMER: I have heard lately that "little people" see the word "midget" as being on par with the "N" word... I have no idea if this is true or not... So, with that said... :::Ahem::: My use of the word "Midget" in the following story is not intended as a derogatory statement of any kind.

So there.

As I walk this world, I have met all sorts of people from all corners of this country and beyond... So far, everywhere I've been and everyone I've talked to has confirmed one true thing in my mind... ~Everybody~ needs their own midget story. Every time I have ever said that, I am met with "Oh my God! You're right! I LOVE midgets!" This is when I proceed to tell them of my story ... the best midget story ... ever.

Now, I have only ever related this tale in the fine oral tradition of the noble Native American and I hope that its transference to the blog world will do the story justice... I guess only those that have heard it will be able to tell me so...

Oh, one more thing... I swear to you that the story I'm about to tell is 100 percent true... This really happened!!!

Ok, so I'm at the "Regal Beagle" (my nickname for my fav local bar back home)and it's a cold and snowy evening. It had been snowing pretty steady all day and the plows were on the road in 24/7 mode to try and keep the streets fairly clear. When I arrive at the "Beagle" earlier that evening, I noticed that the plows had not come through the municipal lot where I parked... "No big deal, I thought to myself..." I went into the beagle and completely forgot about the weather outside.

It continued to snow as the evening progressed and the drinks flowed... after quite a few hours of Pool, shots, Canadian beer and video crack, I decided I better call it a night... Well actually, I didn't decide... Stevie the bartender decided for all of us b/c it was last call at 4am (Time flies, innit?)

I only lived about 5 blocks away at that time and in all reality, I should have just left my car at home and walked, but the thought of stumbling to Allentown at 4am in the freezing cold did ~not~ appeal to me at all. I get to the lot and I see that indeed, the plow had come through and the back of my car was now buried up to the rear bumper.

"Thas'ok," I thought to myself... Hell, I'm a freakin' Buffalonian fer cryin' out loud! This is nothing! I proceed to stomp as much of the snow down as I could and spread it around a little. I get in my car, warm it up, and proceed to throw it reverse and hit the gas... HARD.

I almost made it... almost... so I throw it in drive, pull back in, and do it again... Now, anyone who's familiar with winter driving is familiar with this technique... This will usually work but you need to be patient! Take the car as far as you can, then reverse direction, Lather, rinse, repeat... Well, being the maverick that I felt I was, I got impatient and spun the wheels WAY too much.... I had turned the snow bank underneath my car into solid ice... I wasn't going anywhere... Damn.

I go back to the regal beagle to get a shovel and to my surprise, there isn't one!! WHAT?!? (something about the restaurant next door borrowing it... said restaurant is closed at 4am) So, feeling stranded and unsure of what to do, I start to head towards the lot. If I leave it over night, I will surely get a ticket... plus I gotta trudge back here tomorrow... blah,blah, woof, woof...

Just then, My savior arrives in the form of one behemoth of a City snow plow/salt truck... SALT! I'm saved!!!

I jump up and down and wave as he pulls over... (turns out he's heading to the Greek restaurant to get "lunch") A smiling face looks out from the cab window... a good 4ft. above my head. "Can I help you?" the driver says. "Yesh! I'm stuck in the back parking lot... can I have some salt?" I holler. "Sure, but you need a bucket." he replies.
I run back to the beagle and get an ice bucket from Stevie... "Ok, I got one!" I shout as I slip and slide my way back to the plow... 'Ok, I'll be right down!"

With that... he opens the door......... Midget!

I could not, for the life of me fathom how he had the inside of that Plow rigged up so he could drive it, but there he was... in his splendid tiny glory... climbing down out of one of the biggest goddamn trucks I'd ever seen!

I do my best to hide my surprise by thanking him profusely over and over. We shuffle our way to the back of the truck and I start looking for the chute that he will open to fill my bucket with salt... I see nothing.

NOTE: What you are about to read is single-handedly ~the~ most surreal moment of my WHOLE entire life!

I ask him, "Ummmm... so how do we get the salt." His matter-of-fact reply: "Well... Ya' gotta boost me."

So it was at 4:30am on a blustery, snowy, cold-ass Buffalo morning that I found my self boosting a midget into the back of a gigantic salt truck... I lace my hands, he steps on... and up he went... Of course, his boots are covered in snow, and he's struggling to get in the back... so what could I do? I put my hands on his little butt, and like a wild game of acid-basketball, I went for the jump shot, and heaved him into the back of the truck... he disappears with a little "ufff" noise...

Now lemme just say... When I put my hands on his little butt to push him in, I had a moment of clarity where I said to myself, "Lolagrrl... It's 4:30am, you're buzzed and you have your hands on a midget's ass ... NO ONE will ever believe you."

Anyway, he leans over the back of the truck, I toss the bucket up, he fills it and lowers it down to me... Then I look up at him and say, "Now what?"

His reply, "Well, now you gotta catch me."

And so it was at 4:30am on a blustery, snowy, cold-ass Buffalo morning that I found myself readying to catch my midget savior as he hung from the lip of the truck where I had flung him...

The fact that I got my car out is anti-climactic.

And so it goes.... :)